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Jim Thompson’s Spiritual Poetry Class #20

September 16, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

This has been a tough week. Climate change was coming so gradually that the media and our government leaders weren’t taking it seriously. And then seemingly all at once: BAM!
So I looked for poems dealing with discouragement and finding the strength to carry on. Here are the poems for this 20th class:
• “Moon” by Billy Collins. Collins was our U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001-2003. I am reading Bart Ehrman’s The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World and in the first pages he refers to Matthew Arnold’s poem of doubt, “Dover Beach.” So when I re-read “Moon” last week I picked up the Arnold reference that I hadn’t paid much attention to before. And a poem I liked before connected even more to what I (and so many of us, I suspect) are going through.
• “God speaks to each of us” by Ranier Maria Rilke. I’ve never been a big fan of Rilke’s poetry (blasphemy, I suspect, with many of you) but this one was sent to me this week and boy did it speak to me.
• “L” by Emily Johnston. L is the page number (50) in Johnston’s incredible book of poems, Her Animals. She is a Valve Turner who risked arrest for breaking into a pipeline area and literally turning the valve to cut off the flow of oil. She was hoping to get a day in court to argue that the damage from letting the oil flow is greater than the damage from her action, but the case was thrown out and she is free. L is both a lament and a call to action that rolls around and around in my consciousness.
I look forward to engaging with some of you tomorrow at 5 pm PT: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88946588241?pwd=angyZUUwK2c0ZlhtaVArVUFRaUxRUT09
Passcode: 770520.
+ + Jim


September 16, 2020
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm